Although arriving in Las Vegas the previous night, the day before in Death Valley National Park absolutely whipped us out. In fact, we slept a good portion of the morning away as well. We had found a great deal for the Imperial Palace Hotel, one of the older hotel and casino buildings, which is located right on the The Strip. The room was perfectly fine, with the exception of the lack of cell phone service. How we could have had better reception in the middle of the desert astounded me!
After a delicious meal at Hash House a Go Go (truly a great value restaurant, with large portions, especially for Las Vegas), a couple forgotten things had to be tracked down and a bout of shopping pursued in The Forum Shops and the shops in the hotel itself. While the Forum Shops were ridiculously lavish, I was surprised to find that the shops at the hotel offered far more than just souvenirs, and were quite reasonably priced. I even managed to pick up a pair of sunglasses to replace those I had forgotten on the desert trek (but, alas, I lost them too by the end of the California trip.) In any case, I doubt we would have spent our time roaming the shops of the Forum if we had stopped by the shops near the casino of the Imperial Palace.
I unfortunately had to finish up some lab reports and other tidbits of homework that afternoon, so between sleeping in and lounging in the room, most of the day passed in a marvelously relaxing day. Considering that I was sporting quite an impressive sunburn at the time, it’s not surprise that some recovery was in order. It was also the perfect time to catch up on unwritten postcards!
Another hold-up to adventuring was the need for additional planning. Las Vegas is full of activities, and luckily we had a couple days to enjoy some of the attractions. We decided upon seeing a show, the Blue Man Group, and picked out a handful of other places such as the Eiffel Tower ride and the New York New York roller coaster. I found it difficult to balance the desire to do everything and financial and time costs. Since it was a Thursday night, and thus not as crazy at the bars on The Strip as on a Friday or Saturday, we decided that it was a good time to check out a few. While some seek to experience Las Vegas in its full weekend chaos, I didn’t mind taking advantage of the reduced entries and deals that a female encounters on Thursdays. The main goal of the evening was to walk along The Strip, enjoy the lights, and take in the sights and complete Bucket List #132: Experience the Las Vegas Strip.
The one bar that we did deem interesting enough to deserve a deliberate trip was the Minus 5 Ice Bar. As described on their website, this lounge is made completely of ice. Handcrafted ice sculptures, crafted of Canadian ice, line the walls of ice, and even the bar, seats and floor are solid ice. The bar gets its name from the constant temperature of the bar, negative five degrees Celsius or negative twenty seven degrees Fahrenheit. The biggest downside is that photographs aren’t allowed inside of the bar, meaning the only way to capture the memory is to purchase a photo package. Personally, I would suggest the online offer of $20 for a digital copy over any printed option.
There are two locations in Las Vegas, in Monte Carlo and in Mandalay Bay. Another location in New York is reported to open in November 2012. Each of the two locations in Las Vegas has slightly different options in terms of the offered extras you can select on top of the admission fee – so make sure to compare the two. We selected the location that seemed to offer a combination to which we would potentially upgrade. While the animal or Eskimo hats were more than tempting, we ended up being perfectly satisfied with the Entry Only option ($15). After entering, cocktails can be bought for $10 and are served in ice cups (which can be consumed as desired). The experience is a bit pricey, but unique even for Las Vegas. For those interested in the drinking experience, the cocktails are excellent.
For someone who has never been to Las Vegas, walking The Strip at night was more than enough entertainment. Comfortable shoes, as I learned, are a must and the monorail a great option with a one-day pass only costing $9. Perhaps if we had considered the monorail earlier, my feet wouldn’t have hated me quite so much the next day.
As the night drew on, we found ourselves in the bar across from our hotel, the Rockhouse bar. Over the next few hours I managed to friend a group of Germans (my favorite!) taking a trip through California as a part of their study abroad experience.
I really enjoyed getting to meet the array of people that had collected in Las Vegas that night, and chatting in the casino gave no indication of the hour. I maintain that the casinos are a bit of a timeless trap, and experienced the sensation that time had halted. Of course, I had a rude awakening the next morning when I realized that the perceived casino time differs greatly from reality! Advice to self: keep a clock nearby when windows are scarce. All in all, a night out on The Strip followed a relaxing day and made for a nice introduction to the famous Las Vegas experience.
Read about the previous day’s adventure in Death Valley National Park, find more entries from the entire California trip or check out photos from my completed Bucket List. Plus, plenty of other adventures can be found on the Travel page of my site!